Seriously, have you ever wondered why the price of Petrol in Sri Lanka exceeds that of the United States? let's do the math,
1 Liters of Petrol in Sri Lanka costs about Rs.157 (Ceylon Petroleum Corporation prices)
1 gallon of Petrol (gasoline) in the U.S. costs about $4 (average price everywhere)
1 gallon (U.S.) = 3.785 Liters (ref.)
So 1 Liter of Petrol in the U.S. would cost : $4/3.785 = $1.057
in Sri Lankan rupees that would be : Rs.113 (at 1 LKR = 107.85 USD)
In other words petrol costs nearly 40% more in Sri Lanka than in the U.S. for a country where gasoline prices are set more or less by the state. The important question is why?
Well, for starters taxes seem to be lower in the U.S. averaging 47 cents to the gallon. This includes both sales and federal taxes, which comes to about a bit less than 12% of the total selling price whereas in Sri Lanka, total tax apparently comes to around 37% of the total price. (I'd be much obliged if anyone could confirm that figure).
The tax burden says nothing of that 7 Billion rupee loss incurred by the state-run CPC this year, which will inevitably have to be financed by the tax payer.
Another reason could be that while the U.S. gasoline market is dominated by privately owned firms which responds to market incentives, to invest in efficiencies whereas Sri Lanka market is state-dominated. This makes changing prices a politically motivated exercise, where as in the U.S. this happens daily (or very often) according to market conditions. Messing up with market signals, especially holding down prices artificially while incuring losses, like the practice in Sri Lanka makes necessary long-term investments on efficiency, etc. improbable. The result is at the end of the day they have lower prices, while we have higher ones.
In short, Sri Lankan policymakers can't escape the mess they have made in policy, however much the world crude oil prices have gone up. In economic development, that's what matters most -- policy. Not Oil prices, George W Bush, or some secret neoliberal plan to take over the world. Just how you work shit at home. Our policies suck at that and that's why we are poor.
Related on Deaned, Sri Lanka's retarded Oil policy.